February 5, 2024 – Public education has been part of the foundation of our commonwealth since the beginning. And last year, for the first time, a Pennsylvania court found that education is a fundamental right guaranteed to students by our state constitution–and that our public school funding system fails to provide for that right in every community. How did our clients reach this legal milestone in our school funding lawsuit? What comes next?
In a new article for the Widener Commonwealth Law Review, Law Center senior attorneys Claudia De Palma and Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg—two of the attorneys that litigated the school funding case—take an in-depth look at the history of public education in Pennsylvania, previous attempts to enforce the promise of the state constitution’s “thorough and efficient” education clause, and our clients’ case, first filed in 2014.
“The journey of William Penn, from its filing to its final judgment, was a winding one,” they write, “turning back precedent that had closed the courthouse doors to school funding litigants before proceeding to a four-month trial and culminating in a judicial declaration that the Commonwealth’s public education system, which serves 1.7 million children, was wholly unconstitutional.” Read the article, “The arc from non-justiciable to fundamental: The history of school funding challenges in Pennsylvania,” here.